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Gateway To Security

How It Works

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A VPN works at Layer 3 of the OSI model, so all layers above 3 automatically benefit from the enhanced security. Unlike with HTTPS, Secure IMAP, SSH or a Socks proxy, all applications take advantage of the VPN without modification or requiring specific protocol support.

When selecting a VPN device, consider these four factors: supported protocols, supported platforms, speed and price.

To identify the protocol support you need, first determine whether you'll be using LAN-to-LAN or remote-access capabilities. A LAN-to-LAN VPN lets you connect two networks over a WAN link or Internet connection. Data is encrypted from one VPN device to its peer, not from endpoint to endpoint. This design works when both ends of the VPN are in trusted networks. A LAN-to-LAN VPN offers high performance, simple configuration and easy maintenance. Most LAN-to-LAN VPNs use the IPsec protocol, which relies on 3DES or AES encryption and handles everything from session setup to key exchanges. This configuration requires static IPs on both VPN gateways. Some vendors have created proprietary protocols to deal with dynamic IPs in a LAN-to-LAN environment, but there is no standard for this.

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